Monday, February 28, 2011

setting foot in the homeschool store…

Ok, I did it. I actually went to the local homeschooling bookstore. Everyone applaud now. =)

Seems like it took me a long time to take this step. I’ve always known that I wanted to homeschool my children one day, but I’ve been hesitant to dip my little toe in waters that I know can be huge and overwhelming to a newbie.

You’d think that being homeschooled would make this easier for me. Well, maybe it does. I’m familiar with some curriculum authors and methods. BUT, I have boys, and I am a girl. A lot of the things that I remember liking as a child DO NOT apply… workbooks, etc. I still have to figure it out as I go, just like anyone else.

And this may sound crazy, but it can be a little intimidating when your mother did a really excellent job of teaching you at home. Those are big shoes to fill… and I’m choosing not to fill them in certain ways to give priority to other things. Am I ok with that? Sort of. Depends on the day… =)

Anyhoo…. I made it in the store. I wandered around, pretending I had a clue what I was looking at for a few minutes… and then I finally mustered up the courage to ask the lovely homeschool mom who was running the store to help me out.

After sitting at a table covered with books for a couple of hours, I came away with two things! I talked to a couple of moms around me about what I was looking at, and by the time I left, I felt like I’d made good choices. And I was relieved. I feel like I just needed to dive in and made a decision. I’d heard about different curriculums for teaching your child to read, and I just needed to get one and start trying it…

I looked at several, and I ended up coming away with… “The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading.” Seth is interested in letter sounds, but he doesn’t know all his lowercase letters. He is also not the least bit interested in worksheets. This curriculum is simple, straightforward, and it looks like it takes about 5-10 minutes a lesson to do. It doesn’t require him to recognize all his letters to get started, and there is no writing required. I want to capitalize on his interest without overwhelming him, and we can do a few lessons and stop if he’s not ready right now…

I also came away with a simple book of science experiments by Janice VanCleave. Seth is interested in this kind of thing, and I thought it would be good for his reasoning ability. These require very little in materials, and there is a clear explanation of the scientific principle for each experiment. I was so tired of books that did the experiment without explaining why it worked! The Usborne Science Experiments series looked good, too, but they didn’t have any of those used, and I decided to quit while I was ahead. =)

So there ya have it. The maiden voyage seems successful. Hopefully I won’t be moving to Step 2 of the new homeschooling parent experience soon: Discovering that the curriculum you just bought and agonized over is a total dud for your kid. Stay tuned…. =)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

thankful tuesday…


- for the 32 great years that God has given me…

- for my parents, who give me a weekend each year for my birthday when David and I don’t have to cook, clean, or have full responsibility for our children. That, my friends, is the height of birthday happiness at this stage of life… =)

- watching my boys swinging on the big swing set in my old back yard…

- finding a solitary daffodil in bloom… and feeling like it was God’s birthday gift to me…

- realizing that my rundown sluggishness this weekend was nothing more alarming than the beginnings of spring allergies…

- the special coconut whipped cream cake that I almost always ask Mom to make me for my birthday…

- the lemon flavored chapstick and birthday hat that Seth picked out for my birthday presents…. and his obvious joy over having a secret to keep about my big day…

Monday, February 14, 2011

He can’t see Jesus….

Hi, all…

I’m writing specifically to get some advice on dealing with a spiritual issue with Seth. I’m hoping maybe some of you with older children have seen this before and have some tips for addressing it…

Seth has become increasingly frustrated lately because he can’t see Jesus. We talk about Jesus all the time, sing about him, learn about him at home, church, and Bible study… and he wants to know why Jesus can’t come to his house, talk to him, eat dinner with us, etc. We explain that Jesus is here, but he is invisible. After he lived on earth and died on the cross, he went up to heaven, and he doesn’t have a body anymore, etc.

This isn’t satisfying him. He cried today in the car, saying that “Jesus isn’t at my house.” I told him that he probably won’t be able to see Jesus until he goes to heaven. Well, that led to him saying that he wants to go to heaven and visit Jesus. Arrghh! Don’t really want to get into talking about death on top of this right now…

I feel for him. I have the same desire that he does. I want Jesus to show up in the flesh and talk to me, too. Hearing his longing makes me realize my own longing. I hate living by faith and not by sight as much as my 4-year-old. But I have to teach him how to live without sight…

Any tips on how to do that effectively? Help….

love is….


Sometimes Love is not defined by chocolate candy hearts or flowery bouquets or a nice dinner out….

Sometimes Love is going to the park instead of the grocery store on one of the first warm days in ages…. even if you’re almost out of milk.

It was worth it to watch the fearless baby climb and slide and climb and slide over and over again… grinning fit to crack his tiny face…

It was worth it to see my 4-year-old open his own imaginary ice cream stand under the play structure and sell to everyone in sight… and proudly “help” his brother climb the ladder…

Who says we really “need” milk anyway. =)

Friday, February 11, 2011

pregnancy misc….

These are a few things that I want to jot down so I don’t lose them to my fuzzy brain…

- Morning sickness was different this time around. I had it from 7-10 weeks, similar to Evan, but it was mainly afternoon and evening nausea. I hadn’t had that time of day before. Started around 1-2 p.m. and was usually the worst between dinnertime and 8:00 p.m.

- Crazy as it sounds, dairy helped the nausea. Drinking a glass of milk would help, and so would yogurt and ice cream. Nutso, huh?

- I’ve been craving salt a lot. I can’t remember the last time I went through a drive-thru specifically because I had to have french fries… until this week. I’ve also been eating ramen noodles. I know, I know… I don’t use the whole MSG laden seasoning packet. =)

- I’m more nervous about something going wrong with this pregnancy than I was with Evan. I think its the “glass half empty” pessimism that is a constant thing I have to shake off. It’s probably because we are already stretched thin right now… it’s easier for me to be afraid that this baby will be born with some awful health problem that will break us.

I don’t know if anyone else out there ever goes, “Well, we’ve been fine so far…. but we can’t dodge a bullet forever. We shouldn’t have pushed our luck, but we did, and now something’s going to bite us.” Or that could just be me. =)

- I remember successfully most of the time that the odds are good that everything will be just fine. And that’s a great thing.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Thankful wednesday….


Thankful for….

- little boys who turn sofa cushions into boats and row their animals to the “boat museum”…

- bright sunshine on a cold day…

- baby boys who ask to give “high 5” before bed…

- … and who call yogurt “mogurt”…

- a good night’s sleep…

- a solid, stable, and happy marriage (through God’s grace and lots of humility and hard work on both our parts)

- that everyone in this house practices saying “I’m sorry” on a regular basis…adults and children alike…

- clean laundry…

- making Valentine’s Day cards on a lazy Wednesday…

- that I don’t have to get up early and put on business clothes to go to “work”….

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

almost 12 weeks….


David took this while I was pulling my hair up (totally realistic; I do that all day) while wearing the most pregnant looking maternity top I currently possess. This is what a woman looks like at 11 weeks when she’s on her 3rd pregnancy. Yes, I did a weekly step and tone class for months that ended at Thanksgiving. Yes, I had a pretty tight tummy. No, it did not help at all. =)

Actually, I don’t mind a bit. I love looking pregnant, and now that the sickness has subsided, I love being pregnant. When I was pregnant with Seth, I pouted because it seemed like it took forever for me to start showing. =) I’ve always loved being pregnant, really. My skin gets all glowy (some days), I get to anticipate feeling the baby moving around in there, and a lot of the maternity clothes I borrow look better than my everyday wardrobe. It’s a nice bonus that I no longer worry about sucking in my tummy for 9 whole months!

I have been blessed, and I know it. This time around, I feel like a walking miracle. People I know stop me in the halls at church, smile, and exclaim at God’s goodness. I’m glad if the sight of me (right now =) can make them think of His grace. And…. I’ve always had far easier pregnancies than a lot of my friends. I don’t have much in the way of morning sickness, I usually have a decent amount of energy right up until the end, and things generally go pretty nicely. I won the pregnancy lottery, if not the fertility lottery up until now.

There are moments when I go through my day that are like little flashes of happiness as I briefly think about this blessing v. I see stretch mark cream in the cabinet I’d meant to give away, thinking there’d be no more pregnancies for quite awhile, if ever. I plan my maternity outfit for the next day, and it makes me smile. I rub my tummy at night before bed and pray for the baby inside. I read books to Seth about Mommy’s pregnancy and answer his questions. It’s a wonderful thing that he’s old enough to ask questions and get interested in the baby.

12 weeks tomorrow! First trimester almost over…. I can’t wait to get my roots done. =)

Monday, February 07, 2011

froggy went a courtin’….

We just read a classic Caldecott version of “Froggy Went A Courtin’ ”, and I remembered looking this video of the song up long ago when we first read it. These guys are eclectically fun. I think one of them has a hamster on his upper lip, but he sure can sing…. =)


Thursday, February 03, 2011

Benny Hinn, dark lord of the sith…


Growing up in an extended family with some serious Pentecostal leanings, I was exposed to a little Benny Hinn while at my grandma’s. At the risk of offending some of that Pentecostal family, I give you this…. which I think is absolutely hilarious….

Mom’s beef stew…

I’m getting my appetite back, and I’m craving comfort food. I made beef stew this week, and tonight I’m making chicken pot pie. =) I’m always looking for things to make that freeze well and will yield me at least 3 meals from one cooking session. How could I have forgotten beef stew?

I thought this turned out really well, so I’m going to post my Mom’s recipe here:

Beef Stew

3 carrots, cut in large chunks

3-4 lb. of stew beef (I used the big pack from Walmart, and it was actually tender)

A few red skinned potatos, big chunks, enough for everyone for one meal

2-3 T. Worchestershire sauce

1 clove garlic

2 bay leaves

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

1 heaping t. sweet paprika

3 onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2-3 T. cornstarch

Put the stew beef in a large pot with some oil. Sprinkle some flour on top and brown. Then add just enough water to cover the beef. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Add all the other ingredients, and cook for another 30 minutes. Heat up a little water in the microwave, and add the cornstarch. Stir until mostly dissolved and add to the pot. Simmer in the pot a few minutes longer, until thickened…

This was just what the doctor ordered. Mmmmm… Make sure that you pick out all the potatos, and then you can freeze the rest in plastic bags, flattened. I usually wait a couple of days to put in the freezer to let the flavors combine better….

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

a 4th birthday celebration…

DSC_0173-1 My big boy just turned 4 on the 26th. This was his first birthday that he got really excited about, you know, to the point of asking every day for a week before if it was his birthday yet… =)

I think I got more excited about doing it up for him than he might’ve. At the last minute, I braved my fears of fish dying by the hundreds for no reason, and David and I went out to buy him a betta fish. Swish the Fish is now a mealtime favorite in our house, goggling at the kids while they eat their meals. Seth feeds him, and Evan chirps, ‘Hi, Swishdafish!”

We didn’t plan anything big for his big day, knowing his tendency to get a little overwhelmed at big parties with lots of kids. Nana and Papa came, and that was big enough for him. He got to pick whatever he wanted to eat on his big day, so…. Breakfast: cinnamon rolls, sausage, eggs. Lunch: beef stroganoff at Noodles and Co. that he was too stuffed from breakfast to actually eat. Dinner: hot dogs, potato chips, baked beans, and chocolate fish cake.

He opened a lot of his presents in the morning after breakfast, and Daddy went into work a little late and stayed for that. We went to the children’s museum after that, and it actually ended up being a big treat because I had someone else to watch Evan, and I could help him learn to make pizzas in the pizza restaurant section. I think he could’ve stayed there all day doing that. He was very serious and task oriented about his little job. =)

We didn’t get him a lot of big presents, not really knowing what he would like best. I may get him some beginner roller skates when the weather improves.

Here’s what he did get for his birthday, for posterity:

1 fish, a Nerf gun (which he loves and cannot cock by himself), his first washable markers, his first candy bar, Go Fish, juice boxes (never had at our house before), a puzzle, ringed blocks from my childhood, a race car ramp from David’s parents, a zhu zhu pet hamster from mine, a yearly membership to the children’s museum- also my parents, a plastic hippo and a plastic lion, and I think that’s it…

The older he gets, the more I appreciate my Seth. I know him better every year, and to really know him is to love him. He is my big helper, my insatiable reader, my cuddler, my enforcer of the rules… =) He deserved every minute I put into that fish cake… =)


Seth delivering a pizza to Papa. I thought the hat and apron were nice touches. David thinks I can blackmail him with this picture when he has a girlfriend. =)